Photo: TCR Europe

Coronel holds off Borković to win TCR Europe Race 2 in Pau

Tom Coronel won TCR Europe Race 2 in Pau to extend his championship lead.

Coronel started on reversed-grid pole ahead of Comtoyou Racing team-mates John Filippi, Viktor Davidovski, and Éric Cayolle. The top seven positions on the grid were all occupied by Audi drivers, with Volcano Motorsport duo Lewis Brown and Isaac Smith ahead of Comtoyou’s Kobe Pauwels in seventh place.

The Comtoyou and Volcano drivers left the assembly area with new tyres on the rear of their cars and old tyres on the front, but once they had warmed those up a bit on the way to the grid they all then switched the fronts and rears to have a grippier front end for the first braking zone.

Race 1 pole man Viktor Andersson should have started tenth, and using the tyres he had on in Race 1 but only got to do a lap on before retiring, but was moved up to ninth as stewards determined it would be safer for the cameoing Christian Philippon to start behind him.

The top three made their way off the line safely, while Cayrolle ran deep into the turn two braking zone and pushed Smith on his outside. Dušan Borković snuck down the inside of both, then at the exit of the corner Cayrolle was still drifting wide despite Smith remaining alongside him and the outcome was contact between the pair and Cayrolle being spun into the barriers.

That briefly blocked the cars behind them, meaning when Smith got going again he had not lost any places and came out ahead of Andersson and Brown. However at the end of the lap he headed to the pits to retire.

The safety car was called out, meaning the race was extended from 20 to 22 laps, with Borković occupying fourth place ahead of Pauwels and Andersson.

Racing resumed on lap four, and Coronel put 0.9 seconds between himself and Filippi on the restart lap. It was Davidovski who had the greater pace though, setting fastest lap on lap five and then diving down the inside of Filippi at turn two for second place.

Davidovski quickly chased down Coronel after that, but once he reached the leader he then started slowing dramatically and dropped to seventh before making it into the pits so his car could be examined.

That left Coronel with a 2.6-second lead, and he managed the gap through the rest of the race to take his fourth TCR Europe win.

Filippi returned to second place after Davidovski’s problems, and initially had a lot of pressure from Borković before he had to switch attention to Pauwels behind him. But Filippi was error-prone and that brought Borković back on to his rear, with the latter seizing a chance to dive down the inside at the tight Buisson hairpin on lap 12 to move ahead.

He brought Coronel’s lead down to under a second, but Coronel was saving his tyres and responded by setting the fastest lap. The lead battle sparked up again on lap 17 when the pair lapped Philippon, but Coronel never left Borković a gap for him to tru make a move.

MA:GP’s Viktor Andersson spent the whole race watching the battles just ahead of him, and finished fifth in his Lynk & Co 03 TCR. On lap 16 he did try to pass Pauwels at the turn four hairpin but ran too deep to make the move stick.

Dorian Duthil took over the Cupra León TCR driven by Julien Nougaret in Race 1 and finished eighth despite going into the tyre barriers at turn three late on. That mistake cost him seventh to Davidovski.

The next TCR Europe race will take place at Spa-Francorchamps on May 27-28.